Burgess was an elitist bastard, but he wrote brilliant satire, especially about the counter culture For example, to avoid any gender bias in English, Burgess suggested contracting the subject pronouns she, he and it, into one subject pronoun shit It s been a couple of decades since I read the Enderby series, but the misadventures of Enderby, steeped in the classics, baited but unhooked by modernity, stay with me. Collected Here For The First Time Under One Cover Are The Four Novels Featuring Anthony Burgess S Greatest Comic Creation, The Perdurable Poet FX Enderby With The Most Offhand, Scurrilous Charm, Burgess Illustrates How Enderby The Artist Is The Man Who Expresses For All Men Their Unbuttoned True Selves Time Inside Mr Enderby 4 stars I thought this was a wonder when I read it in 1997 Burgess is for word lovers One of the things that makes him funny is his insertion of the perfect overwrought word at the right moment His gift very much reminds me of Martin Amis s work, though they are strikingly dissimilar in other ways Enderby Outside 3 stars Reading this in 2013, I was disappointed I lost interest in the narrative toward the middle And the last scene where Enderby meets his muse I did not like at all Though technically, there was no falling off of technique In other words, it doesn t get sloppy, I simply lost interest in it The reason for this was the discourse on poetry, which hasn t aged well.I have yet to read the last two novels here Clockwork Testament and Enderby s Dark Lady. A clever and hilarious series is to be found in the Enderby novels Enderby himself is one of Burgess s finest achievements A bumbling dyspeptic rude impotent elitist poet whose personal life always seems to fall apart in service to art, for better or for worse, so to speak He is an outcast, much like Burgess, finding it hard to make a home of anywhere All he has is his muse and his love of art, and he must betray both to connect with the outside world.Burgess s key themes make an appearance Burgess s apostate catholic theology pairs well with scatological humor, ponderings on the worth of poetry, and the occasional quiet moment of honest reflection on the human condition that peer through the witticism and cynicism of Enderby and his peers The first two novels are the strongest Burgess originally imagined them as one novel, but due to a thankfully false prognosis that gave him a year to live, he feared he wouldn t be able to finish it He released the first half as Inside Mr Enderby, and Enderby Outside was finished a few years later The other two novels are strange entities, largely given life by Enderby himself who I never seemed to tire of Burgess had things say with these two novels, but it almost seems like he tacked Enderby to it for lack of a better idea Not that I m complaining again, Enderby is worth the ride The Clockwork Testament or Enderby s End is a fictional re creation of Burgess s own experience dealing with the aftermath of Kubrick s adaptation of A Clockwork Orange Enderby waxes his most elitist here and has a disdain for the social issues of the day, only wishing to stick to his expertise language When Kubrick pulled his film from cinemas based on reports that youth who had viewed the film engaged in imitative violence, Burgess felt like Kubrick had betrayed art to censorship For Burgess, if one film or novel or play could be held responsible for the actions of the viewer, reader, or audience member, then they all could be Not even Shakespeare would be safe from censorship and public outrage Enderby clarifies the themes of ACO original sin, free will, and what not Enderby s Dark Lady seems to be a self lashing, all too catholic, for his pastiche Shakespearean novel Nothing Like the Sun and perhaps an earlier tendency toward casual racism However, Dark Lady has some of the most genuinely hilarious sequences of the series Enderby s impotence and hypocrisy is on full display here, at times comic and others genuine Again, the latter two novels are far too humorous and human to dismiss.I would highly recommend reading the first two novels, especially if you enjoy Burgess The latter two I would recommend as well, but only if the reader has fallen for the title character He is despicably anti social, but ineluctable in his honesty Enderby is a poet He is never spurious or perfidious, even when he ought to be, and that is his ultimate charm. Enderby s Dark Lady is worth it alone, still one of the funniest books I ve ever read Very funny The involuntary adventures of a poet who would much prefer to be left alone The stories become and fantastic and over the top as do the locations from Brighton to London, Rome to Spain, Tangier, Indiana and outer space to a version of earth in a different universe. Enderby is a delightful character I d actually forgotten all about him until landing on goodreads and starting to think seriously about what good books I ve read over the years If you like A Hitchhiker s Guide, The Importance of Being Earnest,Bucket of Face, A Confederacy of Dunces, or any of PG Wodehouse s Bertie Wooster Jeeves novels, I can confidently recommend Enderby.You ll find a bit of Charles, Ignatius, Jack,and Bertie in Enderby And you ll love all the secondary characters, too Enderby is plagued by his own Marvin, Jeeves, Algy, and Myrna, too.When life truly gets you down and you need something absolutely delightful to pull you up, step inside Enderby s life And if you do, please let me know which scene you liked the best I can promise you ll never feel quite the same about a cup of English Breakfast again.Now that I ve remembered him again, I m going to order this collection and gasp pay fullprice for it unless I can grab it cheap before Border s closes shop I just hope I can get it before this weekend A bottle of cold wine and several hundred pages of excellent absurdity Let it rain, let it rain, let it rain. There is no doubt that Burgess can write but he didn t manage to engage me Enderby oscillates between generating sympathy to downright horror due to his lack of sensitivity Burgess is a wordsmith by today s standards so I enjoyed expanding my vocabulary, but the philosophical asides didn t add to the story Let s face it that a professional poet is going to have his problems, regardless of skill Maybe I would treat him differently depending on what I last read There are just too many books out there. While I liked the first of the four books contained here I did find myself of necessity having to put it down, but equally eager to take it up again as soon as possible it is very funny Burgess likes to pride himself apparently on use of obscure words, but that s a part of what is interesting about him Enderby seems an extemporizing of his own Burgess s personality to a great degree, but he scores in a lot of ways when he skewers trends in pop culture prevalent at the time he was writing it This one is a great antidote to boredom. As someone who alternately imagines himself to be Robin Hood one moment and then a schlemiel, the next, this book appeals to my schlemiel self And, yet for all those disgusting moments think of Confederacy of Dunces , where our hero warms himself before the electric fire while seat on the throen, he does stumble into some exciting dramas The world tends to hate him and hunt him, although he is oblivious to their venom.